Since the 2011-12 season, Sixers fans have had to endure three consecutive seasons of horrible basketball. The squad has included mainly NBA journeymen, and most of the few bright spots on the team have been traded in recent years. However, this season will be different. No, the Sixers won’t win a playoff series or even make it to the postseason, but they will be much improved this coming season. I am so serious about the prediction I’m about to make that I’m putting it in writing: The Philadelphia 76ers will win at least 30 games during the 2015-16 NBA season. Below I provide evidence for my seemingly crazy claim.
1) Tony Wroten
Before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee, Wroten was averaging 17 points and 5 assists per game during the 2014-15 season. His explosive first step and willingness to attack the rim has helped him to create shots for himself and for others. While it remains to be seen whether he will return as the same player, he is nonetheless a legitimate starter at the point guard position, something the Sixers didn’t have for much of last season.
2) Improved Inside Play
The biggest splash this offseason was the drafting of Jahlil Okafor with the 3rd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. Okafor brings a very refined post game that is rarely seen in young centers today, or centers at all for that matter. Okafor’s play in the paint will create space for shooters, making more high percentage 3’s available. Additionally, Nerlens Noel showed a much-improved offensive game towards the end of his stellar rookie campaign, and there is no reason to think he won’t be better this season.
3) Player Development
While tough to watch at times, the Sixers young players really did improve over the course of last season. Guys such as Jerami Grant, Furkan Aldemir, Robert Covington, JaKaar Sampson, and Noel made great strides individually thanks to the help of the Sixers coaching staff. A full offseason to improve their game and add muscle for some will pay dividends this coming year.
This doesn’t even include the addition of shooting guard Nik Stauskas from the Sacramento Kings, adding at worst another shooter for Okafor to kick it out to. So even with the injury of Joel Embiid, the Sixers are poised to have a good year and perhaps a great draft if we can swap picks with the Kings. Others might say otherwise, but this Sixers team will not be a doormat, a refreshing change of pace.